Poll: 80 percent of US Catholics like Pope Francis

Six months into his papacy, eight in 10 U.S. Catholics have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis, according to a poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The numbers for the new pontiff represent virtually no change in perception among American faithful between Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's election to the papacy March 13 and now.

A similar poll conducted by the Pew Center in March found the pope receiving support of 84 percent of U.S. Catholics. Thursday's numbers find the pope getting a "favorable" rating from 79 percent of the faithful.

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The poll also found that Americans overall give the pontiff a 58 percent "favorable" rating.

The survey, conducted by the research center from Sept. 4-8, is based among a national sample of 1,506 adults. Interviews were conducted by both cell and landline telephones and in English and Spanish.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR national correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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